Celebrities for Clean Water Spotlight

Just like bottled water companies, clean water advocates in nonprofit efforts have caught on to the best advertising tool in the market: Celebrities. Many celebrities have given their fame and money to good causes. (Sadly, many celebrities endorse bottled water, also, but that’s a post for another day.) The latest trend among stars like Mark Ruffalo, Adam Lambert, Alyssa Milano and Matt Damon is clean water. We thought we’d take some time to highlight what these celebrities are doing to ensure access to clean water in the U.S. and beyond.

Mark Ruffalo – The Fight Against Natural Gas Fracking

The grassroots organization, Frack Action, was struggling to garner media attention for their opposition to natural gas drilling in New York State, until they brought Mark Ruffalo on board. Fracking is a process that involves injecting water and chemicals under high pressure into rock formations, in order to extract natural gas. Filmmaker, Josh Fox, recently portrayed the consequences of fracking in his documentary, Gasland, in which farmers across the U.S. can be seen to light their tap water on fire from natural gas contamination.  Ruffalo dedicates himself to the cause with full force, as an unpaid volunteer. He has attended meetings and hearings, lobbied with activists and visited colleges to raise awareness among students. His fame is helping to bring attention to an issue that, otherwise, may have received very little. In fact, it was rumored several months ago that his private screening of Fox’s film may have landed him on the government’s Terror Watch List. Whether or not the rumor is true doesn’t matter; Ruffalo is one celebrity who won’t sell out. He is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in.

Adam Lambert and Alyssa Milano – Happy Birthday to the Less Fortunate

2009 American Idol runner-up Adam Lambert is donating his 29th birthday to charity: water – one of many water charities dedicated to bringing clean water to those in developing countries. The concept is simple: instead of asking for gifts for your birthday, ask your friends and family to make donations through your mycharity: water website (which is very easy to set up). All of the proceeds will go toward funding clean water projects in countries like Africa, Asia, Honduras and Haiti. With the mycharity: water website, everyone can follow in Adam Lambert’s footsteps. In fact, Lambert is not the first celebrity to donate his birthday to water charity. Alyssa Milano’s mycharity: water campaigns raised over $92,000 for her 37th birthday in 2009, and another $39,551 for her 38th birthday at the end of last year. Lambert’s goal, is $290,000 by the 29th, as he said in a recent tweet.

Matt Damon – Water.org

If you follow us on twitter, by now you probably know that we are big fans of Water.org. Like charity: water, this organization is dedicated to funding clean water, hygiene and sanitation projects in developing nations. Matt Damon co-founded Water.org with Gary White, and has since been heavily invested in its work. Recently, he accepted the Joel Siegel Award for his work with Water.org, at the Critic’s Choice Awards. We think you should follow them on twitter: @Water.

GASLAND: An Inside Look at America’s Natural Gas Drilling Campaign

Would you poison the planet for $100,000?

According to a recent article, filmmaker Josh Fox faced this question when he received a $100,000 offer in exchange for the natural gas drilling rights to his property in the Delaware River Basin.  Instead of taking the money and keeping quiet, he decided to use his talents to make a film that exposes the harsh reality of America’s natural gas drilling campaign.  Touring 24 states across the country, Fox, in his Sundance award-winning documentary, GASLAND, reveals some horrific truths about how the natural gas industry is poisoning our water and air, causing chronic illnesses in residents near drilling areas, and contributing to a crisis that could affect millions more, long-term.  What does this crisis look like in real life?  Here’s what’s happening in several major cities:

  • In Dimock, Pennsylvania, close to the New York City watershed, animals began losing their hair after the drilling started, most likely from the toxic water they ingested.
  • In DISH, Texas, emissions from natural gas wells and pipelines measure way above the public health standard for cancer-causing benzene and the neurotoxin carbon disulfide.  In the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the emissions are greater than the air pollution caused by all the cars and trucks combined.
  • In Wyoming, a water well erupted with a geyser of natural gas for three days.

If that’s not enough to make you think twice, watch this video:

CAN YOU DO THIS WITH YOUR TAP WATER? from JOSHFOX on Vimeo.

Flammable tap water is not the most disturbing of Fox’s findings, however.  The drilling process, called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which leads to all of this contamination, was exempted in 2005 by the Bush-Cheney Energy Policy Act from United States environmental regulations, including the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.  What’s more, the fight has now moved to Congress, where lobbyists are trying to prevent legislation that would reverse the exemption, making chemicals used in the process subject to the Safe Drinking Water Act, once again.

I repeat: lobbyists are trying to PREVENT legislation that would reverse the exemption…

Pardon me while I try to make sense of this.  Instead of preventing accidents like the recent BP oil spill, our very own leaders are ignoring the problem while we scramble to find ways to clean up the mess?  – (i.e. Kevin Costner’s Oil Spill Machines; oil booms and mats made of pantyhose and hair)

Innocents like Fox, who accept a monetary offer in exchange for drilling rights must sign non-disclosure forms forcing them to keep quiet about their experience with natural gas drilling and preventing them from bringing any lawsuits.  Perhaps this is the reason why Fox refused the $100,000 offer.  After all, why would anyone want to put a price tag on his health and risk death in the process?  Besides, since the film won the Documentary Special Jury Prize at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, I’m sure Fox has gained a worthier source of income.

The  film makes its debut on Monday, June 21, at 9 p.m. ET/PT., exclusively on HBO.  Watch it.  Tell your friends.  And please do us all a favor, and share this post.

In the meantime, check out our list of some of our other favorite must-watch water movies.